You know how it is. You’re off playing Thelma & Louise when you find that your fun road trip needs a pit stop. Or maybe you’re just buzzing through your day with no time for lunch. The point is that you need a quick bite on the go and you need it now. While munching through a bag of chips or your favourite chocolate bar may just end up a regretful muffin top you have to work off, there are some fast bites that actually offer some health benefits.

No time for a meal? Check out these not-so-junk-food options you won’t believe are actually good for you.

Healthier 7 Junk Food Options That Aren’t As Bad as You Think

1. Blue M&M’s and Blue Gatorade

Don’t get the blues about all food dyes. From candy to sports drinks, the unnatural colours of foods today can make you cringe at the thought of what’s making them so bright. Well, it turns out that not all coloured dyes are as bad as you may think. Research done by scientists at the University of Rochester found that the Brilliant Blue G (BBG) found in blue M & M’s and blue Gatorade could help reduce damage from spine injuries. Truth: When BBG was injected into lab rats with spinal cord injuries, it sped up their recovery time and ability to walk.

2. Cheez Whiz

Hey, guess what? Fat isn’t always a bad word. The FDA has stated that not only are all trans fats not bad, some are actually good for you. Conjugated Linoleic Acids (CLAs), although high in calories, can help fight cancer, weight gain, diabetes and arthritis. It’s hard to believe, but CLAs are found in classic Cheez Whiz.  

3. Pork Rinds

7 Junk Foods You Can Feel Good About EatingJust the words pork rinds sound like instant heart attack. But did you know they are a fantastic source of protein? A one-ounce serving of this fried snack has 17 grams of protein, seven times the amount of found in a serving of potato chips. Plus, 43% of the fat found in pork rinds come from oleic acid, the same healthy fat found in olive oil. 

4. Beer (WOOHOO!)

Some studies have found that beer can actually help increase bone mineral density because it contains silicon, making bones stronger and less likely to fracture. A Harvard University study found that beer could prevent blood clots and reduce the risk of stroke. Italian researchers found that beer can raise HDL, the good cholesterol in your body. Go ahead and opt for a light beer with fewer calories to avoid that full feeling.

5. Graham Crackers

They are the next best things to cookies if you’re trying to keep your health in mind. Graham crackers contain much less sugar than regular cookies and are still sweet enough to satisfy a craving. Plus, they are made with flour that undergoes a special milling process, preserving more of the whole wheat than in usual milling.

6. Popcorn

This is a snack that gets two thumbs up (and PS. this brand is AH-MAZING!). Popcorn is packed with fibre and polyphenols, which are antioxidants that help to protect us from heart disease and certain cancers. Surprisingly, popcorn has more iron than eggs and spinach! It is also gluten-free, which makes it an option for those with Celiac Disease and other gluten allergies. Lastly, popcorn is mostly air. This means it fills you up, helping to stave off hunger cravings.

7. Beef Jerky

Forget about the leather-tasting jerky of years past. Today’s gourmet jerky is delicious and can be healthy. Beef Jerky, just like its non-dried version of meat, is high in protein, iron and zinc. It also contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Be sure to look for natural beef jerky as the newer gourmet styles that are packed with flavour and free of nitrates. 

Dr. Christopher Calapai is an Osteopathic Physician board certified in family medicine, and anti-aging medicine. Proclaimed the “The Stem Cell Guru” by the New York Daily News, Dr. Calapai is a leader in the field of stem cell therapy in the U.S. He has worked with Mike Tyson, Mickey Rourke, Steven Seagal, and Gotham’s, Donal Logue; and as a medical consultant for the New York Rangers. 

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